What you need to know:
I have noticed that all my friends who would be described as party animals, when they ‘settled down’, they did a 180 and married the antithesis of the mamas they’d party with
One of two things will happen when you are done reading this article. You will either hate me (likely) or despise me (even more likely). Often, you will do both.
But since I am assured of my mother’s love, I will borrow a leaf from Machiavelli who said it is better to be feared than to be loved (if you cannot be both). Mostly because those who love you can kill you.
Speaking of things that can kill, here’s a treatise to the beautiful ladies reading this, probably recovering from a wicked hangover from one of those dingy and dimly lit ‘Top 10 Nairobi Clubs You MUST Visit (no. 4 Will Shock You!): baby, listen, if he met you in the club, he will never take you seriously. Things don’t go wrong, they start wrong.
I know, I know, we should be past this, so passé, but surprise! We are not. Hate the messenger but take the message. Meet the new world: same as the old world. Here’s a personal anecdote. I was on a date with someone’s daughter (a different one) when she said that she would never marry a Kenyan man, and I said me too! Her reasons were that Kenyan men are a) very misogynistic and b) quite patriarchal. Both true. My reason was that I am straight. Also true.
Later we both went home (together). Me to my thoughts, her to her dreams because you know.
She however made sense. Despite her best efforts to sneak in a point between my long-winded tall tales of my campus conquests, I could tell she meant well, that she is actually a modern woman, independent and liberated. Kudos. But I wasn’t listening. Men I know go to the club to look for Joy—the emotion and the girl. Men will promise you everything just to bed you, and they will tell you what you want to hear. But listen, and listen good, he is hardly serious, especially if it is in a dingy and dimly lit place that announces itself as thus: “Meet the Kilimani bachelor giving Kenyan ladies SLEEPLESS Nights.”
I have noticed that all my friends who would be described as party animals, when they ‘settled down’, they did a 180 and married the antithesis of the mamas they’d party with. My 8-4-4 education deduces that if you put two and two together then they were simply there for a good time. Have you seen the recent club photographs that get posted on Twitter/X? These beautiful ladies (stop me when I become patronizing) are all the rage, in a variety of age ranges, but something just feels…off.
First, they drink beer like water, putting our fathers to national shame. Then smoke the banned-but-not-really-banned shisha, on heels as high as Caterpillars, baddies flashing bad manners, this is freedom. This is Beijing in 1995. This is the time of our lives. Meet the new boss: same as the old boss.
I have a theory: we do indeed have a national spirit and, like a well-sharpened knife, splits the national cake into two distinct halves: the first spirit is those imbued by religiosity as a refracted then reflected image of our leadership. The other spirit, well, you’ll find it nestled in mzinga bottles of 250ml 750ml and 1L—kila mtu ako na pombe? This is the spirit of the nation, that even as the government throws the gauntlet at illicit brews, it knows Caesar gets his due from taxes imposed on said alcoholic brands. It is a form of arrested development. A perfect storm. Or, I suppose, an imperfect calm.
The statistics are damning. According to a study by the British Medical Journal, in the recent past men were twice as likely as women to drink alcohol. In 1966, women closed the drinking gap. Women born after 1981 might even be drinking more than their male counterparts. Bravo.
If you still need further proof, your honour, the latest Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (July 2022) shows that among women, women in Turkana are the leading consumers of alcohol, followed by Kiambu and Murang’a. While men still lead in drinking alcohol, the fairer sex has been raising the bar. Look at those girls go! Chapeau.
I have been out clubbing with girls and they knocked down a mzinga faster than you could say ‘toxic masculinity’—and were still soberer than the economy. Brother, let’s do dipstick research here: When was the last time you saw a woman pass out in a club? No hands? Okay, keep your hands down but when was the last time you saw a man passed out? That’s what I thought. (Apropos of nothing, it is a gloomy truth that 40 percent of female graduates born after 1970 are likely to enter their forties childless.)
In life, you have to believe in something. That much I believe, and I don’t believe much else. Years of commentary journalism imbued with tiny heartbreaks and a society that is teetering towards a precipice does that to you. All this, I don’t need anyone to tell me—although no doubt some will graciously take it upon themselves to do so anyway—buttresses the belief that just because I have minority tastes doesn’t mean the pleasures favoured by the majority are wrong.
Today, thanks to the internet “We are shouting at once,” “We are all having the time of our lives,” and “We are the life of the party.” This is our shared social contract. You’d have to be a real contrary so-and-so to say no. Which is why I urge you to do so.
I am sure some people would accuse me of being a cynic, bleak in my vision if I even have one. Others could possibly say I am a reactionary, a doomsayer. Perhaps, there is some truth to it. What’s also true is that my people say, “A flower tree which is near a cactus will always weep.”
I remember having a passing interest in Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ simply because of its intro: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man, in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
Level with me. Men don’t marry women they love, they marry women who are practical. Of course, there are outliers. Such is human life. But I am telling you, on this moral high horse, if he parties with you, he will soon part with you. Cheers.